Do you have a question about the Tomorrow Starts Today campus growth program?

Please email dawson@dawsonschool.org - and put "TST Question" in the Subject line. We will get back to you promptly, and will add frequently asked questions to this FAQ page. Thank you!

CAMPUS GROWTH Overview FAQs

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What is being built, and when will things be complete?

    What is essential for our students to be prepared for today's changing landscape? These facilities support the development of the combination of hard and soft skills students need to succeed.
     
    DINING COMMONS - Planned completion: Summer 2018
    A vibrant educational program is built on the connections students make with each other and with faculty. Having multiple and varied places on campus for relationships and community to develop and thrive is essential.
     
    HENDERSON RENOVATIONS / LEARNING COMMONS - Planned completion: Spring 2019
    The former dining hall transforms: meet the Learning Commons, where yesterday's library becomes an inspiring, 21st Century environment for study and collaboration. Students learn in different ways and with different tools. Space that is well-equipped, inviting, and flexible makes this learning possible.
     
    THE GREEN - Planned completion: Spring 2020
    Dawson's campus is integral to our program and is used in ways both educational and restorative. Our campus quad, The Green, is designed to allow and promote community gathering, recreation, and experiential learning.
     
    INNOVATION CENTER - Planned completion: Spring 2020
    A best-in-class facility designed to inspire, stimulate, and challenge. With K-12 science classrooms, technology and maker labs, wood and metal shops, the Innovation Center will be a dynamic hub of creativity for every single Dawson student.
  • Q. What are Dawson's guiding principles for its campus growth?

    Dawson has a number of guiding principles for its campus growth.
    • Stay anchored in Dawson's Strategic Plan - our vision for Dawson's best future.
    • Invite full community participation - trustees, families, students, alumni, faculty, staff.
    • Utilize best-in-class guidance and partners throughout design and construction.
    • Make choices based on what is essential for our students' success.
    • Live our commitment to today's best practices in sustainability and the environment.
    • Ensure new facilities complement and are integrated with current campus look and feel.
    • Be fiscally responsible. Design spaces for maximum, multi-purpose, flexible use.
  • Q. How much will these buildings cost?

    The projected budget for this phase of our campus growth - Dining Commons, Learning Commons/Henderson Renovations, The Green, Innovation Center - is $25 million. Dawson is committed to being fiscally responsible and has a rigorous and thorough decision making process. We make choices based on what is essential for our students' success, and we are designing spaces for maximum, multi-purpose, flexible use.
  • Q. What steps is Dawson taking to work toward low impact/sustainable buildings

    Low impact and sustainable practices are a design principle for Dawson, and form a cornerstone of our design and building plans. For instance,
    • All buildings are being developed to meet LEED Gold standards.
    • Dining Commons furnishings will be selected with low impact and low emissions.
    • The Innovation Center has been designed as close to zero energy as possible; it will be extremely energy efficient
  • Q. What role does Boulder County play in this project?

    Because Dawson operates through a Special Use Permit, Boulder County must approve all changes to the campus, monitor our energy usage, traffic counts, and more.  The County has approved the Dining Hall the Planning Commission voted unanimously in favor of the Innovation Center which will go to the County Commissioners for a final approval in January.  Dawson’s partnership with the County has grown stronger in the past few years, and we are confident all plans will be approved.

Dining Commons FAQs

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What is the capacity of the new Dining Commons? What is changing about lunch at Dawson?

    The seating capacity of the new Dining Commons is 400. The new servery is designed for shorter/faster lines, and easier access for our youngest students. We will still have our terrific partners, SAGE Dining Services, providing lunch! 


  • Q. Why did Dawson decide to build the Dining Commons first?

    There were a number of factors that led to the decision to build the Dining Commons first in this phase of our campus growth. In a perfect world, we would have built all elements at once - Dining Commons, Learning Commons/Henderson renovations, The Green, Innovation Center - in order to minimize overall construction time on campus. However, Boulder County final approvals for the Innovation Center have not yet been received. Since the Dining Commons is replacing a building - it is being built on the footprint of the old 7/8 science building - it was easier to secure County approval.
     
    Doing everything at once would necessitate significant disruption to our academic program, and to logistics on campus. Classrooms would have been displaced; with double the construction vehicles, parking would have been severely impacted; and the dining hall would have been unavailable for some portion of the school year.
     
    Dawson's early fundraising efforts have been progressing well, yet we have a way to go before we will have raised sufficient funds to complete the entire project. We strive to be fiscally responsible in balancing obtaining the needed funds with construction financing requirements.

     
  • Q. Will the Dining Commons be used for meetings and speakers? I heard there are conference rooms.

    In keeping with our guiding principle of multi-use spaces, the Dining Commons is being designed for use with meetings, presentations, and speakers - valuable community and learning opportunities. And yes, there are two conference rooms - each seating up to 20, and they can be combined to accommodate up to 40. The main space as well as conference rooms are equipped with audio-visual equipment.
  • Q. What else is new about the Dining Commons? Is there really an indoor/outdoor fireplace?

    Yes, the Dining Commons will have an indoor/outdoor fireplace. It also has a patio that can be used for outdoor eating during lunch or impromptu classroom space. Another interesting feature is the acoustic ceiling; it was designed as attractive wood surface backed by special acoustical panels that will help noise levels. 
  • Q. How soon can we eat in the new Dining Commons?

    We expect a soft open during Summer 2018, during summer camps. Dawson students will begin using the facility with start of school 2018. 

Learning Commons/Henderson Renovations, The Green, Innovation Center FAQs

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What is a Learning Commons?

    The Learning Commons is a 21st Century environment for study and collaboration. Students learn in different ways and with different tools. Space that is well-equipped, inviting, and flexible makes this learning possible.
  • Q. What grade levels can use the Learning Commons?

    The Learning Commons is designed and will be equipped for primary use by individual students and classes from grades 6-12. As it does now, the Lower School library will continue to serve grades K-5.
  • Q. Will an adult always be present in the Learning Commons?

    Yes, certain faculty will have their offices in the Learning Commons, and there will be a support desk that has a faculty member present.
  • Q. Will my first grader really go to the Innovation Center for science class?

    Yes, all science classes for grades K-12 will be in the Innovation Center rather than homerooms or regular classrooms. The Maker Space will be equipped to be used by all grade levels. Each classroom will be designed to meet the unique needs of an individual age group.
  • Q. Why a Green?

    Dawson’s campus is integral to our program, and is used in ways both educational and restorative. Our campus quad, The Green, is designed to allow and promote community gathering, recreation, and experiential learning.

Funding and the Future FAQs

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. Will we ever renovate and expand the Arts and Athletic Centers?

    Yes, the campus Master Plan calls for expanding and renovating both the Arts and Athletic Centers in the future, as well as for other campus improvements. Ideas range from an enlarged main theatre and a black box theater in the Arts Center, to an outdoor pool in proximity to the gym, a larger weight room in the Athletic Center, and a concession stand and restroom out nearer the fields. Once we successfully complete Phase I, Dawson will be working with Boulder County, studying enrollment projections, and discussing and refining these plans for future campus growth.
  • Q. How are we paying for this campus growth?

    Dawson is in the quiet phase of a capital campaign to raise the funds necessary for this project.  The Alexander Dawson Foundation will match all gifts of $25,000 or more if pledged by May 2018 and fulfilled by May of 2021.  We plan to raise $10 million from current parents, alumni, grandparents, former parents and other friends. The Foundation match will amount to $10 million, and the school will finance the remaining balance.
  • Q. Are you asking that we give to this campaign as opposed to the Annual Fund?

    The Annual Fund is Dawson’s main fundraising priority. The Annual Fund supports the day-to-day events that move Dawson’s program from great to exceptional. The campaign to support our campus growth is an investment in Dawson’s future that we hope every family will consider in addition to their Annual Fund gift. 
  • Q. What impact will these buildings have on enrollment?

    We have already begun promoting these buildings and enhancements to prospective families. Though they come to Dawson for our exceptional program, the knowledge that Dawson is investing in our campus with an eye towards the future sends a positive message.
  • Q. Will this project affect tuition?

    We are fortunate to have a strong start to our fundraising for this project, and with the Foundation’s generous match, we are confident that the majority of the project will be covered by private donations, minimizing the amount we need to finance. The amount of the project that might need to come from tuition revenue would be minimal.
  • Q. When did we last build on the Dawson campus, and how was that paid for?

    Dawson’s last new building was completed 20 years ago.  The Alexander Dawson Foundation issued bonds to pay for the Lower School and Athletic Center. The Foundation continues to cover the debt service on these bonds to this day.

TIMELINE AND DETAILS


JULY/SUMMER 2017

Demolition/dismantling of old 7/8 science building.
Site preparation, start of Dining Commons construction.
 
**PUBLIC EVENT:  DINING COMMONS GROUNDBREAKING - July 20
A wonderful community celebration, where staff and students, alumni, faculty, and families came together to kick off the first new building on campus in 20 years. Visit Construction Progress page to see a photo gallery from the event.

DINING COMMONS
A vibrant educational program is built on the connections students make with each other and with faculty. Having multiple and varied places on campus for relationships and community to develop and thrive is essential. Planned completion: Summer 2018.


4th QUARTER 2017

**PUBLIC EVENT: I-BEAM PLACEMENT, DINING COMMONS
Everyone can sign and then watch as a crane places this key structural element of our new building.


SUMMER 2018 

**PUBLIC EVENT: DINING COMMONS RIBBON CUTTING

Begin construction on the Learning Commons, Henderson renovations.

LEARNING COMMONS / HENDERSON 
The former dining hall transforms: Meet the Learning Commons, where yesterday's library becomes an inspiring, 21st Century envirnoment for study and collaboration. Students learn in different ways and with different tools. Space that is well-equipped, inviting, and flexible makes this learning possible. Planned completion: Spring 2019.


2019

Begin construction on the Innovation Center; construction on The Green follows.

INNOVATION CENTER
A best-in-class facility designed to inspire, stimulate, and challenge. With K-12 science classrooms, technology and maker labs, wood and metal shops, the Innovation Center will be a dynamic hub of creativity for every single Dawson student. Planned completion: Spring 2020.

THE GREEN
Dawson's campus is integral to our program, and is used in ways both educational and restorative. Our campus quad, The Green, is designed to allow and promote community gathering, recreation, and experiential learning. Planned completion: Spring 2020.

DAWSON'S GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR CAMPUS GROWTH

* Stay anchored in Dawson's Strategic Plan - our vision for Dawson's best future.   
* Invite full community participation - trustees, families, students, alumni, faculty, staff.  
Utilize best-in-class guidance and partners throughout design and construction.  
Make choices based on what is essential for our students' success.  
Live our commitment to today's best practices in sustainability and the environment.  
Ensure new facilities complement and integrate with current campus look and feel.  
Be fiscally responsible. Design spaces for maximum, multi-purpose, flexible use.